Part one of this blog showed you why moving to Microsoft Office 365 is the answer to staying relevant in a fast-paced and increasingly mobile world. Specifically, we learnt how it is empowering the global economy with platforms that give greater IT flexibility, nimbleness and security; infrastructure with levels of soaring performance and downward prices, packaged in elegant, powerful and modern applications that define how we do business.
Part two showed you how to make the move to an empowered business future with Office 365. We dispelled the most common myths about cloud migration, revealing how Office 365 comes with a dedicated team that will help you every step of the way, reducing hardware and upgrade headaches, offering scalability and a variety of options that best suit the needs of your business going forward.
In part three, we will take a look at what your empowered future may look like now you’ve successfully made the move to Office 365. What it will mean for your employees, what it will mean for your customers, and ultimately, what it will mean for your ROI. To do this, we will cover some practical real case scenarios that your business can now expect as part of “everyday life” with Office 365.
Yammer - Your Own Enterprise Social Networking
Gone are the days when staff would sneakily peak at social media the minute management turned its back. Today, the office environment looks very different, as enterprise social networking quickly gains acceptance. Undeniably, social media has changed the way we communicate. What was once considered a hindrance to real work is now seen as having competitive edge over email as a more practical means of agile, transparent and immediate communication. Research shows that appropriate connectivity in well-managed networks within organisations can have a substantial impact on performance, learning, and innovation.
With Yammer and Office 365, you are able to use the same familiar principles from social networking as a natural extension of the productivity tools we use at work to bring social into the enterprise. This isn't just a fad or for millenials. Regardless of the size of your organisation, you can boost team collaboration, allowing colleagues to learn from each other and share with each other, no matter what their position is or where they are located. Teams can even collaborate externally using Yammer to have conversations with customers, partners suppliers or even shareholders.
Yammer nurtures greater visibility over the things that matter most. With the option of following other employees in your community, you can stay up to date on relevant conversations occurring across your organisation and ensure you’re kept in the loop on what’s important. This omnipresence gives employees greater potential, allowing staff to learn more about other areas of the business and even contribute in meaningful ways. If information is not sensitive there is no need for it to be locked down in an email when other members of the team can benefit from increased visibility of conversations occurring across the community. Giving employees a voice in company decisions helps them to feel valued members of the team, which has a positive effect on employee retention.
OneDrive - Simplified document sharing
Users want access to their data from wherever they are and whatever device they’re on. It’s what we’ve become used to in the consumer world, so it’s only natural we want the same in the enterprise world. As a result, more and more companies are migrating to the cloud for their storage needs, and this is where Office 365 excels.
Using OneDrive for business allows employees to upload documents to the cloud, which lets them work from anywhere they might need without creating multiple, duplicate files. Anytime, anywhere access to files does wonders for workplace mobility, allowing employees to work externally or even from home, which has been linked to increased job satisfaction.
OneDrive for Business integrates with Word, Excel and other applications for streamlined collaboration. This keeps employees quite literally on the same page, allowing them to see changes to the document in real-time through the co-authoring feature, as well as a colour indicator displaying where coworkers have made changes.
OneDrive eliminates the need for requesting revisions, updates and other changes through email - a place where messages go to die. This can be frustrating for employees trying to juggle multiple versions of a file, whilst scanning pages of email to find the latest document. Instead, OneDrive gives all coworkers access to a single centralised document. If a mistake is made, version control simply lets you restore the file back to a previous state.
Link sharing creates a direct link to the document, which allows internal or external users to access the information. And security is never compromised. With the option of assigning a required sign-in, employees can choose who has access to the link. If that person only needs access for an appointed time, the expiration date feature can automatically disable the link at a specific time.
Office 365 Planner - An organised workflow
Teamwork shouldn’t be chaotic, it should be organised and efficient. The Egyptians didn’t build the pyramids without a rigid structure, and you shouldn’t run your business without an organised workflow. When everyone pulls their weight, great things can be achieved. In order for this to happen, work needs to be delegated effectively and employees need to be aware of their precise goals.
Office 365 Planner is a project management tool designed to create plans, organise and assign tasks, share files, set due dates and provide status updates. Each plan has its own board where you can organise tasks into buckets and categorise those tasks based on their status or on whom they’re assigned to. This makes working together effortless, with each team member aware of what they are working on, every step of the way, wherever they are.
A plan is only successful, if it is stuck to. That’s why Planner works across all your devices, ensuring that wherever you go, the plan goes with you. A glance at Charts is all it takes to know where things stand and if the team is making enough progress towards their goal. Monitoring progress in the Planner tool means that targets can be continually evaluated and developed in accordance with the progress made.
Skype for Business - You’re the face of the company
Remember those Skype chats you used to have with your friends and family? Well now you can do them at work too. With Office 365 and Skype for Business, you can simplify your infrastructure with one platform for calling, conferencing, video, and sharing. Because sometimes, it’s easier just to say it face to face. Depending on a coworkers availability indicated by their status, team members can instantly connect via high-quality video so you can get to the crux of what you want to say, without having to draft a tedious email. The result is lightning fast productivity.
Face to face communication is great for talking, but when you can see what you’re discussing, that’s when creativity truly flourishes. Skype for business allows you to share desktops, documents, applications, online whiteboards and presentations whilst you communicate so you can make sure you’re both signing from the same hymn sheet when exchanging ideas. Want to hold a meeting over Skype and showcase your PowerPoint slides? Not a problem with Office 365.
We live in an idea economy. The dawn of the information age has given way to full-blown daylight. Data has become the currency of business, and collaboration is the fuel. It’s clear, the future belongs to teams. Microsoft Office 365 is at the forefront of that ideology, changing the way users work - the way IT works - preparing for a cloud-centric future and revolutionising the global economy.
Access to elegant, powerful and modern applications that give greater IT flexibility, nimbleness and security will continue to define how we do business. The success of these tools are dependent upon how well they fit in as part of everyday life, so that we don’t even notice them. And we shouldn’t notice them. They should be a bridge to what we are trying to achieve, not distract us from our goal. That’s Bill Gates’ mantra, and it’s evident throughout the entire Office 365 suite.